How to Create Realistic Puddles

Puddles! Hollywood loves 'em. In almost every movie, you'll notice that night time shots are almost dripping with water. (Even if it makes no sense for the story)

Believe it or not, this is very intentional.

Rough surfaces disappear at night, resulting in overly dark shots and unbalanced frames.

 Notice how this dry road is practically invisible? This is confusing to the audience and less appealing visually.

Notice how this dry road is practically invisible? This is confusing to the audience and less appealing visually.

Wet surfaces however reflect light, and allow you to properly identify the surrounding area. Thus making the scene "feel" brighter.

As a 3D artist, you can incorporate this same trick into your scenes.

 Created by Greg Zaal using Blender

Created by Greg Zaal using Blender

And not only is it helpful for lighting and composition, but puddles are also just visually interesting. So even daytime shots can be vastly improved.

We created a puddle tutorial 5 years ago, but the method in this tutorial is far simpler and produces vastly better results! It's physically-based and procedural, meaning there's no painting or UV unwrapping required!

Finished Result

If you make something cool from this tutorial, share it in the comments below!